Many of us wish we could read more.
Often, it is not a matter of missing the time to read, but that we lack the motivation for sustained periods of focused reading.
This is where the Pomodoro Technique comes in.
Let’s jump right in.
What Is The Pomodoro Technique?
In short, the Pomodoro technique is a time management technique that uses short, sustained bursts of work and then short breaks to increase productivity.
The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo as a way to have more productive sessions while at work.
In short, it uses a kitchen timer (or a tomato timer, where the name of the technique is taken from) and uses this to segment a person’s time into focused, sustained, but short periods.
A typical Pomodoro Technique section may be 25 minutes of continuous, unbroken work, and then 5 minutes to break.
The Pomodoro Technique only has a few rules, namely:
Step 1 – Choose your task and prepare. This is a very important first step as it allows you to prepare your time and focus your attention on one thing.You don’t want to use your Pomodoro as way to decide what to do during that Pomodoro.
Step 2 – Set a timer for exactly 25 minutes. You could choose a different time, but 25 minutes is generally considered to be the most conventional and perhaps the best time to choose. I use this default time 90% of the time.
Step 3 – Work on your task until the time is up. This means you work without any distractions at all, or without interruptions. It’s very important not to break your focus. If something comes along, note it on a notepad to get back to it later. Then immediately focus back on the task at hand.
Step 4 – Take a 5 minute break. Once the 25-minute work period is over, you can take a short break. This typically should involve something that isn’t too stimulating for your mind. For example, social media or TV are not a good idea for your break. You’ll want to do something that allows your mind to reset so that you hit your next 25-minute period with a refreshed brain (here are some Pomodoro break ideas).
Step 5 – Later Pomodoros and a longer break. After this, people tend to repeat Pomodoros until they reach four. Once they get to number four, they will then take a much longer break. This could be any time you need – I typically go for 45 minutes. This eventual long break is vital as it will help you to completely reset. The human brain can only do focused work for so long before needing time to relax.
In short, the Pomodoro effect gives your mind a simple pattern to follow – intense work followed by moments of respite that allow the brain to reset.
How to Use the Pomodoro Technique for Reading Efficiently
Reading is a similar skill to focused, sustained periods of study or work, so it is a great fit for the Pomodoro Technique.
However, there are a few things you’re going to want to keep in mind.
Although the Pomodoro Technique can be a great choice for reading more, this does depend on the type of reading you’re looking to do.
Let’s find out.
1. Break Times Are Sacred
When trying to read more with the Pomodoro Method, it is even more important that you use your five-minute breaks for something constructive.
You will want your brain to relax, so anything stimulating is going to be the worst choice for you.
Let’s say you use your 5-minute break to check the news, the weather, or social media.
Anything with a screen is going to be much more stimulating for your mind than a book and will make it difficult for you to begin your next 25-minute session of sustained reading.
That being said, even if you cannot let go of your book, make sure you keep your Pomodoros consistent and manageable.
It’s better to have shorter Pomodoros and stay on “schedule” than stick to a strict 25 minutes and fall into procrastination.
2. Start Reading Again Quickly
One thing that you might find with the Pomodoro Technique while reading, is that it will feel difficult to get back into deep concentration after your break.
This is because your mind has been interrupted from the flow of the book, and needs a few minutes to get back into it.
If you find yourself experiencing this, then all you need to do is continue to read without stopping, and in around 5-10 minutes you will be back in the swing of things.
Make sure you start reading again quickly after your break, to ensure that your brain falls back into the flow state without further interruption and avoid being distracted.
The more you do it, the more you’ll improve your attention span.
3. Staying Focused Is Important
When it comes to reading with the Pomodoro, you’re going to need to make sure you stay focused.
Although it can be very easy to look away from the sentence you’re reading and let your mind wander, this is one of the worst things you can do.
Typically, reading will feel easier the more you focus, however, sometimes your mind is bound to drift off for a few seconds.
Always try to shift your focus back to the book, and soon enough you’ll be ensnared by the words once again.
And if that doesn’t work, always to make sure to mark your distraction on a notepad near you.
You can always come back to it later.
The Pomodoro Technique works as well for studying as it does for reading.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel when you have a time management system that works for you.